Eight Years In, Spillover Is Dallas’ Most Interesting Fest.
We’ve stopped going to SXSW in recent years, partly because it’s just the worst but also because Parade of Flesh’s annual Spillover fest each year seems to book most every band we would have wanted to catch at that growingly obnoxious Austin conference anyway.
Better still is the relaxed vibe of the fest, which doesn’t force us to frustratingly scramble for hours for parking and run from venue to venue in hopes of possibly-but-hey-probably-not getting in to catch whatever band we were hoping to see. Also? You don’t have to shell out hundreds for a wristband and you don’t have to give dozens of companies our email addresses to get into their overcrowded day parties.
Far as we can tell, the bands love it, too. Instead of carrying heavy gear for several blocks and being shuffled along to four gigs in different parts of town on the same day, they actually get to hang around and party after their sets at Spillover.
In short: Spillover is the chill South By alternative that brings everything we once loved about that fest to our own backyards, with none of its excesses.
So, in advance of Sunday’s return of one of our favorite events of the year, we decided to look back at how Parade of Flesh’s annual SX spillover concert grew from just a couple of bands performing in a DIY space to the nearly 40-band bill that spans across four stages at three of Deep Ellum’s most popular venues.
In doing so, we noticed how many Spillover bands blew up just months after playing the thing. What we wouldn’t give now to go back and catch Wavves at the tiny Lounge on Elm Street, Frankie Rose at Double Wide or Wild Flag at Dada.
Highlights: White Mice, The Coathangers, Pleasureboaters, DJ Scotch Egg.
Name: South By South Flesh.
Venue(s): The Lounge on Elm Street.
Highlights: Young Widows, Thee Oh Sees, Women, Abe Vigoda, Wavves, Sleepy Sun, Pterodactyl, Howl, My Disco, Vampire Hands, Fresh & Onlys, Trash Talk, The Coathangers.
Name: Bro Fest.
Venue(s): Double Wide.
Highlights: The Soft Pack, Dum Dum Girls, Those Darlins, Sleepy Sun, Woven Bones, Frankie Rose, The Outs, Liturgy.
Critic’s Take: “It was quite the relaxed affair — maybe because so few locals took advantage of the daylong festival’s offerings, sure, but also because there was decidedly less pressure on the bands that performed there. No label execs in sight, no bloggers (present company excluded) breathing down these bands’ necks for scoops and exclusives, no interviews to be conducted with deadline-facing publications (hey, we were just trying to chill out a bit ourselves). Yeah, for many of these bands, it was just a stop on the road back home — or maybe an easy gig to pick up while getting out of Austin and back out onto the road — but, in the wake of SXSW madness, an environment like this one just felt so jarringly and refreshingly different. Bands weren’t scurrying out of the joint to move on to their next showcase or to catch a much-needed rest. Rather, many of them hung around, soaking in the environment, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of the crowd and cheering on the other acts, which, like them, had made the stop. It was a night filled with moments that seemed to make the weekend as a whole worthwhile.” — Pete Freedman, Dallas Observer.
Name: Bro Fest.
Highlights: The Greenhornes, Wild Flag, JEFF the Brotherhood, Small Black, Deafheaven, Fang Island, Liturgy, Touche Amore, Class Actress, Castanets.
Critic’s Take: “Last year, you’ll remember, it was damn cold and jam-packed at the Double Wide. This year’s open-space, post-supermoon-washed Dada venue was sounding good, and the bands brought an excited crowd close to the stage. A great night, no doubt. And there was pit moshing. Wild, arm-flailing moshing.” — Nick Rallo, DC9 at Night.
Name: Bro Fest.
Venue(s): Dada, La Grange.
Highlights: OFF!, Maps & Atlases, Crocodiles, Sleepy Sun, Prince Rama, Bass Drum of Death, White Mystery, Titus Andronicus, The Growlers, Hospitality, And So I Watch You From Afar, The Coathangers, The Men.
Critic’s Take: “Bands have every right to hate Bro Fest, the post-South by Southwest bash that John Iskander of Parade of Flesh has thrown for five years running now. After playing a grueling stretch of shows in Austin, they have to hop in the car, drive three-and-a-half hours north and play a show in Dallas that looks and feels remarkably like the ones they’d just played. Thing is, they don’t hate it. Uniformly, they seem to get a kick out of it. Out front of Dada yesterday, mid-afternoon, shortly after wrapping his band’s set, a member of Gauntlet Hair stood back, looked up and down the road and remarked out loud, ‘I really like Dallas. I’ve never been here before, but I really like it.'” — Pete Freedman, Central Track.
Venue(s): Sandbar Cantina, Double Wide.
Highlights: Broncho, Ducktails, Jaill, The Coathangers, Mondo Generator, Nobunny, The Orwells, Parenthetical Girls, Parquet Courts, Vietnam, White Mystery, Zechs Marquise.
Critic’s Take: “The bands embraced the environment, too. During his band’s mid-afernoon set, Parenthetical Girls singer Zac Pennington took off his shoes and socks on stage and jumped off into the sand to wander about the crowd. He even filmed himself with his phone as he cavorted about in the sand. If nothing else, it was a nice change of pace for the fans and bands alike. As expected, the bands were pretty burned out from the SXSW grind. One member of Parquet Courts was losing his voice; still, that band powered through their set. The Coathangers, meanwhile, were late, stuck in traffic on the way up to this show from Austin; the day’s whole schedule was rearranged to accommodate them. When they did eventually arrive, they celebrated the performance by destroying a pinata. No Bunny, backed by Bad Sports, followed — and followed suit by finishing off the destruction of that pinata.” — Jeremy Hughes, Central Track.
Venue(s): Dada, Three Links.
Highlights: Ty Segall, Dum Dum Girls, Astronautalis, The Coathangers, Deafheaven, Har Mar Superstar, Marijuana Deathsquads, Oberhofer, Japanther, Nothing, Radkey, Cerebral Ballzy.
Critic’s Take: “I am fested out. I head to 7-Eleven to grab some potato chips. There, I run into the members of Diarrhea Planet, whose Jordan Smith gives me the quote I was hoping to get out of Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s Kip Berman: ‘It’s been great,’ he says when I ask if he’s enjoyed his Spillover. ‘I feel like I’ve seen more bands here that I wanted to see than I did at South By.’ I pay for my chips and leave feeling pretty proud of myself, I must say. I mean, that’s a pretty money quote right there. Kinda sums up the whole day, doesn’t it?” — Pete Freedman, Central Track.
Venue(s): Dada, Three Links, Trees.
Highlights: Liars, Iceage, King Tuff, Alvvays, JEFF the Brotherhood, Cancer Bats, Viet Cong, Single Mothers, The Coathangers, White Mystery, Diarrhea Planet, Weedeater, Pianos Become The Teeth.
Critic’s Take: See the above introduction. We love the shit out this fest and this lineup. We’re about as stoked for Sunday as can be.
Parade of Flesh’s eighth annual Spillover Fest is Sunday, March 22, at Trees, Dada and Three Links. Tickets are currently on sale here.